NY State Retirement Mandate: What You Need to Know

Discover how the NY State Secure Choice Savings Program impacts both employers and employees. Learn about automatic enrollment, Roth IRAs, employer responsibilities, and the benefits of this retirement savings initiative.
Author: Penelope Team

The NY State Secure Choice Savings Program is a game-changer for New Yorkers, designed to close the retirement savings gap and provide a robust safety net for workers. Whether you're an employer or an employee, it's important to understand how this mandate affects you, and what you can do to make the most of it.

Understanding the NY State Retirement Mandate

As of December 2021, New York State requires businesses with 10 or more employees to offer a retirement savings plan. This legislation was passed in a response to the alarming statistics that show many Americans are ill-prepared for retirement, especially those without access to employer-sponsored plans.

Key Features of the New York Secure Choice Savings Program

At this time, the New York Secure Choice Savings Program is still under development, so there's no enrollment requirement at this time. Here are some of the details we do know about the program:

  1. Automatic Enrollment: Employees are automatically enrolled unless they opt out. The default contribution rate is 3% of their salary, but they can adjust this rate.

  2. Roth IRA Contributions: Contributions are invested into Roth IRAs, which are funded with after-tax dollars. This means withdrawals made during retirement are generally tax-free, which offers a significant financial advantage.

  3. Employer Role: Employers are responsible for facilitating payroll deductions, but they are not required to make additional contributions for their employees, making it more affordable for small businesses owners to participate in the program.

  4. Employee Portability: The Roth IRA accounts are employee-owned, allowing them to retain and continue contributing to their accounts even when they change jobs.

Why This Matters to Employees

Access to Retirement Savings: Many workers, particularly those employed by small businesses, lack access to traditional retirement plans, like 401(k)s. This program provides a straightforward way to start saving for the future.

Tax Benefits: Contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and qualified withdrawals are tax-free, which can be a significant advantage during retirement.

Flexibility: Employees have the freedom to adjust their contributions or opt-out entirely, giving them control over their savings.

Benefits for Employers

Improve Employee Retention: Offering a retirement savings option can boost employee satisfaction and retention, making it easier to attract and keep talent.

Simple Compliance: Employers face minimal administrative burden as the state manages much of the program, allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Avoid Penalties: Offering a retirement plan means businesses avoid penalties associated with the New York State retirement mandate.

Considerations and Challenges

Initial Setup: While not overly burdensome, employers will need to set up payroll deductions and ensure timely contributions.

Employee Education: Employers may need to educate employees about the program benefits and how to manage their contributions.

Roth IRA Limits: Both employers and employees should be aware of annual contribution limits and any tax implications.


The NY State Secure Choice Savings Program is a positive step toward enhancing retirement security for many New Yorkers. Employers and employees alike should embrace this opportunity to build a more secure financial future. Staying informed and proactive will be crucial to making the most of this mandate as it evolves.

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